Should freedom of press bring instability in Africa?

The western media has been reporting about a hunt of journalists in Rwanda and an intended move to invoke the legacy of genocide and national security to silence independent voices in the media.

The western media has been reporting about a hunt of journalists in Rwanda and an intended move to invoke the legacy of genocide and national security to silence independent voices in the media.

Some international media organizations have apparently not been reading the articles for which journalists are incriminated, they have instead copied to us the same rhetoric/ statement used for all those arrested journalists in the past, in the name of media fraternity.

Rwandese have read Kinyarwanda articles that were calling people to stop paying taxes, articles discouraging investors to spark off business because of a so-called ‘’coup d etat” and ‘’war’’, articles calling one ethnic group to stand against the other in a country where genocide took place few years back and many other unsubstantiated issues.

The sympathy of some western media to Rwandese, trying to consolidate reconciliation and development, has been reflected by statements calling for suspension of aid and international sanctions.

Paris-based Reporters without Borders (Reporters Sans Frontieres) said Rwanda’s government, was responsible for “a series of grave press freedom violations and called the European Union to stop disbursing its funding for the presidential elections.

As if it was not enough, some of the western media have got as source information peddlers such as Charles Kabonero, Agnes Uwimana Nkusi and Jean-Baptiste Gasasira.

The peddlers have been able to copy stories from “Inspector Derrick” and “Jack Bauer” to look ‘’victims’’ and attract funds from different international organizations.

Charles Kabonero and Gasasira Jean Bosco left Rwanda through the official border with their passports. However, while on the other side of the border, they claim that they were hunted.

Their stories looking like a scoop has been picked by some western media groups without asking themselves how can someone who is hunted by a government can cross the official border without being intercepted ?

The credibility of Charles Kabonero and Gasasira have always been questioned. For many occasions and on record, the two asked for ransom from different government officials so that they (Umuseso and Umuvugizi) don’t write damaging articles about them. Some (officials) went by their wish and others who rejected their poisoned request saw defamatory stories being produced in their newspapers.

And whenever they (named officials) will take case to court, the two will mobilize western media claiming oppression of the media in Rwanda and lack of justice in Rwanda. 

Here, some western media do not even try to compare it to their own situation? Should the case of President Sarkozy against Mediapart on allegation of corruption be interpreted as a lack of press freedom in France?

Charles Kabonero and Gasasira Jean Baptiste have gone as far as receiving money from families of genocide suspect living in Europe promising them to publish their version of the story to question ruling of justice.

An undisclosed lady based in Netherlands is sad about the 500$ she availed to the peddlers few days before the suspension of Umuseso and Umuvugizi. What they had convinced her to do didn’t happen.  

Jean Bosco Gasasira will tell those international organizations that he was attacked by ‘’State operatives’’ but he will never say that the culprit was apprehended and convicted to the highest sentence.

He will never say that he distorted facts on privacy of an individual but will turn the story as an harassment from a senior prosecutor.

Kabonero and Gasasira will tell people that they are being “followed” by cars of security apparatus or those of Rwanda’s embassies but they will never be precise on which car and which number plate for the purpose of making their stories sweet in the ears of those who want to listen.

Agnes Nkusi Uwimana will write articles calling upon Hutus to rebel because they are being undermined and people will expect the law against genocide to be ignored.

Some media groups, which claim to be professional, will then pick the ‘’SCOOP ‘’ and conclude “series of grave press freedom violations are taking place in Rwanda’’ with a lot of excitement.  

Is that ignorance of what happened in Rwanda or should, in the name of freedom of press, people cause tension in a country where peace and reconciliation is being consolidated ?    

Some of those members of the international community are once again showing that they don’t care about an African country like in 1994 when people were being killed in Rwanda and in late 1990’s when they had kept a deaf ear to the reorganization of a genocidal force in DRC.

They should learn more about the determination of Rwandese. Even a foul looks wise when he holds his peace!!

The author is a political analyst

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